State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch, Sr. has warned a Lockport man that he must devote all of his spare funds to paying $30,000 per year in restitution or else he will be sent to state prison.

Michael Szafran, 42, of Regent Street, pleaded guilty July 25 to second-degree grand larceny for a series of thefts from his former employer, Hildreth Electric. Investigators said Szafran stole as much as $500,000 in electrical materials between June 2014 and August 2018, then sold the items or used them in his personal projects. Prosecutors later agreed to $150,000 restitution, partly because of the difficulty in proving the stolen materials were worth much more, according to Assistant District Attorney Ryan Parisi.

To avoid prison, Szafran will have to pay the full restitution by the end of a five-year probation sentence. But since his guilty plea, Szafran has paid only $3,000 restitution.

This past Wednesday, Kloch placed Szafran on one year of interim probation to gauge his ability to pay back Hildreth and follow the rules of probation.

"If there's not a substantial payment of the money you took (within the next year), I'll have no problem sending you to jail," Kloch said.

"This is your vacations, your nights out. This is your new shirt," Kloch added. "You can make this restitution, if you make it your goal."

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